After a three-day trip to visit the Unversity of Texas and many long conversations with Texas offensive coordinator Greg Davis, Billy Napier and the Clemson coaching staff are ready to get down to business with the start of spring practice next Monday.
Thursday afternoon Clemson's first-year offensive coordinator sat down with the media to talk about Clemson's new offensive scheme, as well as expectations for spring ball:
What did you take from the trip to Texas?
Napier: I really enjoyed it. Obviously we appreciate Coach Brown and his staff to open the doors for us. It was a beneficial trip for us with some things we were thinking. We'll add a few wrinkles here and there but really it was an overall program visit. There are some things really to evaluate from the bigger picture, from an organizational standpoint.
How much was the visit centered around the offense, in that you guys want to run an offense similar to Texas?
Napier: Overall, it was just a good overall staff visit- the whole organization. Greg Davis [offensive coordinator] is an outstanding coach. He's been in it for a long time so it was great to sit in with him.
How do you evaluate your quarterbacks this spring?
Napier: We'll start out with our guys rotating, per group. There won't necessarily be a No. 1 or No. 2 or No. 3 guy. We want to put our guys in a position to be successful, see who rises to the top and go from there.
How do Kyle and Willy compare?
Napier: I think that's something that will come about in the next couple of weeks. We'll be able to gauge that later on, but until then we will we will let what happens in the next 34 days happen. We'll make an objective evaluation at that time. The whole group- I think it's important to understand that we are going evaluate the whole group, and every player on offense, from the very beginning.
How much has Kyle been able to do things with the team since baseball started?
Napier: The NCAA rule allows us to meet a little bit each week and we've done that. He's been at those meetings. We'll do the same thing during spring practice. We'll adjust our schedule to his schedule to get the most out of those 34 days as we can.
Do you have to do must installation during spring with your new offense?
Napier: We really do. We have had some good early meetings. A little bit- in the limited opportunities we have had so far. We've got to teach these guys because a lot of these guys haven't played. Some of these guys have played but in limited roles. There will be some carry over from a procedural standpoint. The verbiage will make sense to a lot of them. But as far as the approach we'll take and what we are trying to teach these guys, we are trying to be as specific as we can through each concept.
How different has this been for you compared to the last six weeks of the season?
Napier: It is different. You've got a chance to really put your stamp on something instead of just being thrown into the fire in survival mode. You have to think long and hard about how you go about your business. You really have to establish a standard and kind of revamp things to some degree. It's an offseason mode. We are in our second phase here going into spring practice. We've got a full year to prepare 12, 13, 14 games.
How will Jacoby's role change with the absence of Aaron Kelly and Tyler Grisham?
Napier: Jacoby is a guy that has been very productive. He has a ton of strengths. Like every player we have there is still a ton of room for improvement. We are going to try to put him a position to touch the ball [a lot]. We'll play him on the outside some so he can challenge vertically.
How about Jamie Harper? Where does he fit in?
Napier: Jamie has obviously had a really great offseason with the first phase. I think he's lost something like 18 pounds or something like that. Andre Ellington is an extremely talented player. Nobody needs to underestimate his ability. We'll have a really explosive backfield. I think C.J. with the combination of Jamie and Andre is going to be a really good fit for what we are doing. I think he weighed 222 the other day. But really the number is not significant. It's all about the body fat percentage. We don't want him hauling around stuff that's not helping him.
What will you do at center?
Napier: We have several opinions and several approaches we are going to take to that thing. We've got some guys we think can do it. It's a challenging position both physically and mentally. We'll juggle a little bit. The ultimate objective is to get the best five guys on the field. One of those ides is Thomas Austin playing center but he's been productive at guard. Mason Cloy, Matt Sanders and Dalton Freeman and Thomas Austin will be the four guys to choose form.
How important is it for Xavier Dye to step up?
Napier: Xavier is a guy who has been waiting his turn. I've been pleased with his focus, energy and attitude. Physically he has all the measurables. Obviously he's going to have a big opportunity now.
Napier discusses new offense
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